A multicultural celebration of body movement will belly dance and pirouette its way into Santa Monica this weekend.

The 13th Annual MixMatch Dance Festival returns to the Miles Memorial Playhouse this weekend, August 17-18, bringing with it dance styles from across the world. The two-day event will feature ballet, hip-hop dancing and more from dancers, dance companies and choreographers across Los Angeles and as far as Virginia, all colliding in the name of entertaining audiences.

“Anyone can find something to like here,” Amanda Hart, director and founder of the festival, said. “And it’s the price of seeing a 3D movie. ”Each dance is about 10 minutes, each day is filled with wildly different styles and you’re guaranteed to leave with a memorable experience.”

Amanda Hart, director and founder of the festival, says that the goal of MixMatch is to, yes, introduce audiences to different dance styles, but to do so in an affordable way. The dance festival has been mainstay in Santa Monica for over a decade now and Hart credits that to the  festival’s affordability and uniqueness factor.

“This festival is geared towards reflecting the many diverse styles of dance as possible and making that approachable,” Hart said, noting the comparably low price of $20 to her festival. “You can see five styles of professional-level dance in one show and you don’t need to pay a hundred dollars or dress up in a tuxedo to do it.”

While audiences keep returning in droves to the festival but so do the dancers.

Hart and her team do comb through Los Angeles and neighboring areas, canvassing and seeking out dancers and companies, but more often than not, dancers that appear in the festival often learn of MixMatch through word of mouth and want to join.

“They see or hear about what kind of festival it is, that it’s easy to submit, too, and they come back often,” Hart said. “They like the team, location and the community turnout. We make it approachable for artists, too.”

This year, Hart says the belly dancing is a standout this year, naming artists Sonia Ochoa and Shivani Thakkar as standouts. She brings up a ballet company she loves then begins naming other acts, eventually leading her to opine that there’s not a weak point in the line up, that she’s excited for audiences to see everything MixMatch can offer.

“I’m happy we’ve been able to do this so long,” Hart says, “and it’s because this festival keeps rejuvenating itself. Contemporary dance, Jazz, cultural dances and it’s intimate. If people—and dancers, too—come to see us, I want to make the show, their stay, worth it.”

For more information, visit https://www.hartpulsedance.com/info

angel@smdp.com

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